Vast majority of Canadians want to see children’s healthcare improved: survey

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As the premiers and Trudeau discuss a new funding plan to boost the ailing Canadian healthcare system, Canadians want to see more funding set aside for children and youth.

New opinion research released by Abacus Data in partnership with Children’s Healthcare Canada (CHC) and the Pediatric Chairs of Canada revealed more than 90 per cent of Canadians believe pediatric care urgently needs improvements, and 39 per cent of parents “lack confidence in the timeliness of access to primary care and their ability to access medicine and products.”

“Historically, Canada’s healthcare system for children has had under investment, and has been under resourced,” said Niya Chari, a senior advisor with CHC, on The Sam Laprade Show.

Canada invests just over 1.5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) towards children and youth, according to CHC. Other countries like France, Sweden and the United Kingdom invest up to more than 3.5 per cent.

Polling also suggested a Canadians want to see national goals set for children’s health outcomes and a portion of the Canada Health Transfer to be set aside specifically for children and youth.

The $196 billion, 10-year deal proposed by Ottawa to the provinces on Tuesday, Feb. 7, does specifically mention the pediatric care crisis. Recognition of the systemic issues is certainly appreciated by Chari and the CHC, but more still needs to be done.

“We also recognize that to truly transform pediatric healthcare, and to make it work for children and their families, we really need a longer term plan,” said Chari. That’s the real way we’re going to be able to transform healthcare for children.”

However, Chari does believe there are a number of initiatives announced that will help address some of the issues facing the healthcare system including primary care access, data collection and the workforce shortage.

“We’re really hopeful that this is a step towards a larger commitment and a larger strategy to get things, not only back on track for children’s health, but really charting upwards and helping us restore our global standing in children’s’ health.”

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